Friday, November 26, 2010

No immediate pardon for Asia Bibi

Asia Bibi will not be immediately
pardoned by Pakistan's president.
ASSIST News Service is reporting that Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari will not immediately pardon Asia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to die for insulting Islam, but may do so later if an appeals court delays her case too long, an official said yesterday.

A story posted at EPakistanNews.com stated Thursday: “The case has prompted outrage from international rights groups and inflamed religious passions at home. In recent days, demonstrations have been staged both by Pakistan’s Christian minority calling for her release and also by Muslims warning against any pardon for her and defending the country’s blasphemy law, which critics say is misused to settle personal scores and by extremists to persecute minorities.”

Minister for Minority Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti, who met with President Zardari yesterday, said the president has decided to let the appeal process play out instead of immediately pardoning Asia. Bhatti was quoted as saying, “However, Zardari agreed to pardon Bibi later if the appeal case is unduly delayed.”

No specific deadline given, but Bhatti said he believes the president “will not wait months or weeks.”

Asia is the first woman condemned to die under the blasphemy law. She has been jailed for 18 months and was sentenced November 8 to hang.

Read the full ASSIST News Service story here and the EPakistanNews story here.

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